Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Latest developments
Introduction and background
National investment 
South African IPBES Experts 
National focal point 

Latest developments


Call for nominations of experts – assessment of invasive alien species​

Dear IPBES stakeholders and Experts, The Plenary, at its sixth session held from 18 to 24 March 2018 in Medellin, Colombia, approved in decision IPBES-6/1 the undertaking of a thematic assessment of invasive alien species. The assessment will commence following IPBES 7 and will be considered by the Plenary at IPBES 10. In line with the agreed procedures for the preparation of IPBES deliverables, the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel would like to formally invite Governments and stakeholders to nominate experts for the assessment of invasive alien species.

All Governments and relevant organizations or institutions are encouraged to submit nominations. Nominations may also be submitted by organizations or institutions, regardless of whether they are admitted to the Plenary of IPBES as an observer. Please help us to disseminate this call for nominations of experts widely to relevant institutions and organizations, such as universities or research institutions. Nominees should have expertise related to the themes and skills required for the chapters of the assessment as set out in its scoping document (available here). They should be experts on invasive alien species within one or more of the following disciplines: natural sciences; social sciences; or the humanities; be indigenous and local knowledge experts or have expertise in indigenous and local knowledge systems; or be policy experts and practitioners.

All nominees should have experience in working within interdisciplinary and/or international contexts. The Department of Environmental Affairs invites you to nominate experts from a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds and gender, in order to ensure a balanced team of experts. Please follow this procedure to nominate experts: It is important for all nominees to submit their nominations online.

The nominating body is Government herein represented by the National Focal point: Kiruben Naicker (

  1. Nominees are invited to fill out the application form and attach their curriculum vitae through the dedicated web portal (To access this page, you will need to log in with your IPBES web site login credentials or Nominees not yet registered on the IPBES web site will need to do so by clicking on the "Create new account".)
  2. The nominating government or organization (Nominator) indicated by the Nominee will receive an email with a link to the nomination form and will be invited to approve and submit the nominations in the web portal.
  3. Nominators and Nominees will receive a confirmation via email once the nomination has been duly submitted. Interested experts (Nominees) who would like to seek nomination by a Government, are encouraged to contact the IPBES National Focal Point: Kiruben Naicker ( ( regarding any queries and are requested to fill out their application form by no later than 10 December 2018.

The actual closing date to the IPBES secretariat is 11 January 2019.

Early nominations ahead of the deadline are encouraged. Experts will be selected according to the IPBES rules of procedure during IPBES 7, taking place from 29 April to 4 May 2019 in Paris, France. Experts will be informed of their selection in June 2019.

There may also be the opportunity for a small number of early career experts to participate in the assessment under the IPBES Fellowship Programme. It is planned to launch a call for nominations to the Fellowship Programme following IPBES 7, pending approval of the budget at IPBES 7. More information on the work of experts and on financial support available to selected experts can be found here. The first meeting of all assessment experts, for which attendance is mandatory, is tentatively scheduled for August or September 2019. I thank you in advance for your nominations and your continued support to IPBES.

IPBES Pollinators Assessment Now Available

The IPBES is very pleased to inform you that all chapters, and their executive summaries, of the IPBES thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination, and Food Production are now available to download on the IPBES website at  An attractive, laid-out version of this document is also being prepared and will be made available online soon.

Shaping the right questions together, that science can begin to answer

Panel of experts, representing both stakeholders and policy-makers From left to right: (Prof John Donaldson, Mr. Danie Pienaar, Prof May Hermanus and Dr. Ian Goldman)

The environment sector is complex and can provide some of the most challenging policy contexts: situations of crisis such as natural disasters in the face of climate change: erratic weather patterns of drought, storms  and flooding which can have devastating impacts on the livelihoods of people, biodiversity loss and the subsequent socio-economic impact  on society and then we have equity and poverty issues, access to natural resources where promotion of the green and biodiversity economy, trade, sustainable use can create a skewed society. All of these issues can give rise to situations where the necessary evidence can be in conflict with political views and socio-economic imperatives, and more so when evidence must cross geopolitical borders and cultures.  It is, therefore, important to recognise the broad and diverse socio-economic context of our country in which science and evidence is undertaken and applied. Therefore, there should indeed be a greater commitment for collaboration amongst both the policy makers, scientific and evidence communities to advance the principles of accountability in brokering the necessary and appropriate knowledge that can both honour and transcend our diversity whilst sustainably managing our environment. It was for these reasons that the Department of Environmental Affairs hosted the inaugural Biodiversity Evidence and Research Indaba. 

Louise Shaxson from the Overseas Development Institute, facilitating a discussion on, scaling evidence-based policy making in sector policy themes. 

It was in such a spirit that the Indaba was convened, to start a domestic dialogue across sectors, with key stakeholders on the best approaches for environmental research, whilst identifying and strengthening interventions of scientific evidence to influence decision and policy making. The inaugural event attracted over 90 participates from across various sectors, including members of the DPSA (Department of Public Service and Administration) and DPME (Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation), as well as representatives from numerous external entities, and members from provincial branches.

The Department of Environmental Affairs is committed to this government-wide agenda of research and evidence gathering for decision and policy making.  Our commitments are guided by the Environment Sector Research, Development and Evidence framework, approved in 2012, which is within the national research agenda of the country as framed by the National Research & Development Strategy in 2002, the Ten-Year Innovation Plan of 2008 and the 2012 Global Change Research Plan, led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). This agenda was further aligned to the research and evidence drive of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency as well as the Department of Public Service and Administration on guiding improvement of the efficiency and efficacy of the public administration.

Our commitments extend further to the extent where the Department of Environmental Affairs has institutionalised the science-policy interface as an internal strategic objective.  This approach has been recognised through the VakoYiko Partnership Consortium which piloted the Department of Environmental Affairs as a case study for the use of research and evidence in decision making and policy development. The VakoYiko project was done in partnership with the overseas development institute (ODI), HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council) and CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) funded through the UK DFID (Department of International Development).  

Interactive sessions, which saw both stakeholder and policy-maker engagement. 

Globally, scientific advisory councils are the norm where chief scientific advisors bridge the interface between science decision and policy making. In South Africa, we have adopted the Ministerial Technical Working group system highlighted in the diagnostic report of the VakoYiko project, which is now contributing towards the development of a change strategy for the Department.

The VakoYiko project is sadly coming to an end in December this year, but the Department through the Branch: Biodiversity and Conservation have significant best practices which have given the sector the edge to advance the science-policy interface to other policy themes in the sector. Firstly, the Biodiversity Act has made provision for the establishment of the South African National Biodiversity Institute with the mandate to conduct research, which over the years, since its establishment, have provided a historic culture of a practice of science informing policy.

The Department is also an active pioneer member of the Intergovernmental platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES) which is a science policy platform, established in 2012. South Africa is also the host country for the IPBES technical support unit for the African regional assessment, administered by the CSIR

It was, therefore, encouraging to see members of the science and policy fraternity coming together and participating in the first Research & Evidence Indaba which marked a milestone moment in strengthening government’s research and evidence drive to support decision making, policy diagnosis, development, implementation, and evaluation. The department is proud to announce the success of this event in highlighting an agenda that balanced evidence, social values and other imperatives in the public policy sphere.

IPBES 5 PLENARY TOOK PLACE FROM THE 7th to the 10th March 2017
IPBES approved the following decisions;

  • Hosting the sixth session from Sunday, 18 March to Saturday, 24 March 2018 in Medellin, Colombia.
  • The implementation of the first work programme of the Platform.
  • Accepting the European Union as an enhanced observer to the Platform.
  • The Catalogue of policy tools and methodologies to undertake an evaluation and to report to the Plenary at its sixth session.
  • Reflecting on the implementation of the four functions of the Platform from the first work program.
  • Recognising and working with indigenous and local knowledge for the participatory mechanism.
  • The adoption of the scoping report on Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (Wild Species).
  • Undertaking an internal review and report the findings at its sixth session.
  • Considering a revised budget for the financial year 2017-18, including the remaining period of the work program of the platform.

A draft report is available on

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Introduction and background


The South African Government through its Department of Environmental Affairs is committed to evidence-based decision making. Through strengthening the science-policy interface South Africa has supported the establishment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The objective was to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being, and sustainable development.

What is IPBES

  • Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
  • Overall objective: To provide policy-relevant scientific knowledge to inform decision making
  • Established in April 2012, Panama
  • 118 Members-SA played an instrumental role in IPBES est. and is a pioneer member
  • Secretariat hosted in Bonn, Germany

Principles of IPBES

  • Address terrestrial, marine and inland water biodiversity and ecosystem services and their interactions
  • Inter- and multidisciplinary approach
  • Gender equity
  • Collaboration - avoiding duplication
  • Full participation of developing countries
  • Policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive
  • Scientific independence, credibility, relevance, and legitimacy
  • Contribution of indigenous and local knowledge

How is IPBES organized

What will IPBES do?

IPBES was established with four greed functions:


Knowledge generation Identify knowledge needs of policymakers and catalyse efforts to generate new knowledge
Assessment Deliver global, regional and thematic assessments, and promote and catalyse support for sub-global assessment

Policy support tools

Identify policy relevant tools/methodologies, facilitate their use, and promote and catalyse their further development
Capacity building Prioritize key capacity building needs and provide and call for financial and other support for priority needs

Four functions of IPBES

IPBES analytical conceptual framework

Structure of the work programme

16 deliverables

Institutional arrangements

Mechanisms agreed at IPBES -2:

  • Expert groups: time-bound and task specific expert groups established for specific deliverables
  • Task forces: smaller groups established to consider a specific topic or question and how IPBES will address it
  • Forum on capacity-building: periodic meeting with potential donors to highlight priority needs
  • Technical support units (TSU): to coordinate and support the activities of working groups and task forces


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National investment


In response to international obligations as well as those within the Department of Environmental Affairs Environment Sector, Research, and Development Framework, the Branch Biodiversity & Conservation has established a Directorate: Science-Policy Interface.

Goal: To provide overall strategic scientific intelligence and leadership in the Directorate: Science Policy Interface - through the coordination of specialist scientific advisory services and research for effective Biodiversity and Conservation decision making.


  • To provide a science policy interface for the Biodiversity Sector
  • To coordinate expertise across different sectors and research councils for Biodiversity Research
  • To provide an analytical and advisory service on scientific developments and trends arising from SA’s obligations in terms of biodiversity-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements
  • To monitor and evaluate the implementation of National Strategies, programmes, and projects
  • To coordinate and manage key flagship projects and programmes to enhance the intelligence/content of the sector.


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South African IPBES Experts 

Below is an l list of the current South African IPBES Experts and their relevant area of expertise

Core National IPBES HUB:


Expert: Deliverable 4c: Development of the guide and catalogue on policy support tools

Expert: Deliverable 4c: Development of the guide and catalogue on policy support tools

Name Organisation Focal Area
Dr. Luthando Dziba CSIR Expert: Deliverable 1d: Generation, access, and management of knowledge and data
Dr. Colleen Seymour SANBI Expert: Deliverable 3a: Assessment on pollinators, pollination, and food production

Dr. Ruan Veldtman


Expert: Deliverable 3a: Assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production

Dr. Belinda Reyers

CSIR Expert: Deliverable 1d: Generation, access, and management of knowledge and data
Dr. Klaus Kellner NW University (Potchefstroom) Expert: Deliverable 3c: Methodological assessment on scenario analysis and modelling

Dr. Klaus Kellner

NW University (Potch) Expert: Deliverable 3c: Methodological assessment on scenario analysis and modelling
Dr. Nicholas King Independent Expert: Deliverable 3c: Methodological assessment on scenario analysis and modeling
Dr Patrick O’Farrell CSIR Expert:3d: Methodological assessment on diverse conceptualizations of value
Dr. Joel Houdet Synergiz Expert: Deliverable 2b:set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Dr. Anton Pauw Stellenbosch Univer sity Expert: Deliverable 3a: The fast Track Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production
Dr, Mduduzi Ndlovu WITS Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Dr. Louis Celliers CSIR Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Balgis Osman- Elasha African Development Bank Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Benis N. Egoh CSIR Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Brian van Wilgen CSIR Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Chris Dickens IWNI Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Claire Ntshane SanParks Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Emma Archer Garderen CSIR Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Graham von Maltitz CSIR Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
James Gambiza Rhodes University Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
John Morris ISS and Synergiz Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Kaera Coetzer WITS Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Laura Pereira UCT Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Lindsey Gillson UCT Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Mathieu Rouget UKZN Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Philip Ivey SANBI Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Phumza Ntshotsho CSIR Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Reinette Biggs Stellenbosch Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Sebataole Rahlao SANBI Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments
Thomas Bornman SAEON Expert:2b: set of regional and sub-regional assessments

National focal point 


IPBES Focal Point Kiruben Naicker: Director Science Policy Interface
Telephone No. +27 12 399 9622
E-mail /


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